INSPIRATION

Why You Shouldn’t Travel

What Giving a TED Talk taught me >
Recovering From Burnout >
The Time I got Fired >
Now Trending:

Getting Started with Travel Photography

Get the guide

Download my free guide to learn 5 days to get started in travel photography today!

Hi, I'm Erin!

I am a photographer and writer passionate about the outdoors, meaningful travel, and living deliberately. I hope to use my platform online to show the beauty and complexity of the world we live in, and to encourage genuine connection to the outdoors, culture, people and wildlife.

The Photo Series that Went *Viral*

AS SEEN IN

GET ON THE LIST

Wanna keep in touch? Subscribe to get notes from me in your inbox. We send updates, images, encouragement, discounts, and other treats we think you’ll dig.

Add some wonder to your space

SHOP PRINTS

I have compared myself to other people for as long as I can remember.

Social media gives us everything we need to create a highlight reel of our lives– something colorful. Only the interesting parts. Only the latte art and the view at the top of the mountain on a sunny day. It’s not normal to broadcast heartbreak or the twenty minutes you spent in the bathroom stall on your phone at the job you don’t care about, killing time.

I have been inspired by travel bloggers. So much, in fact, that a year and half ago, I started this blog. But what I admire most is people who are telling their truth, who are real, who are explaining that it isn’t always fun and it isn’t always easy.

It is easy to glorify travel and adventure, but it’s not really fair to those experiences to end it at just that. In life and in travel, the times that challenged you are the same experiences that helped you grow– the ones that helped you move on into your next stage with as much grace as possible.

There are endless lists on why you should travel. Why it’s a good idea. Why it’s formative. Why it helps you find yourself. I’m not going to give you that list.

Don’t travel to get the pretty pictures for Instagram. You will get much more than you bargained for– not just pictures, but stories to go with them. Some of them will be painful. Some will be scary. All will be loaded.

I have traveled for the wrong reasons. I have traveled because I felt like it was what I should have done or who I should have been. But the trips I went on for the wrong reasons didn’t suddenly change me into the person I wanted to be. They helped, yes, but it was always a delayed reaction– a slow growth I could only see months afterward.

Do not travel to be like someone else. You will only ever be like yourself. Travel to explore who you are and to learn to love that person.

Do not travel because you are looking for something, or for someone. Understand that the world might see you and tell you that actually, you don’t need anything extra. Maybe you are already carrying too much. Understand that your experience might allow you to leave something behind instead, and that this can be more powerful, more valuable.

Do not travel to escape your world or your situation. It will be waiting for you when you get back. Travel to dig in, instead.

Do not travel because you think you “should.” Should is a word that governs our lives but only places limits and judgments on us. Who you should be is exactly who you are right now.

But most importantly, do not travel because someone told you to– including me. You don’t have to do it the way anyone else suggests. No one person’s advice is going to fit you and your situation, and there isn’t going to be a perfect fit the first time around.

Seek grit in your life, not because you feel you should, but because you feel a need. Replace “should” with what you truly require, what will improve you, and what reminds you of your heart’s capacity. Exchange walls for boundaries so you can lovingly require what brings out the best in you, while letting the light in.

It’s not fair to compare yourself to an idea you had about the person you once wanted to be, or the person you think you should be. It’s not fair to compare yourself to something you haven’t given yourself the chance to become yet.

Travel– or don’t– because it resonates with you, because you want to or need to. Travel because you have reasons, or because you don’t. Remember that you, and only you, are always the person who determines the right reasons.


 

Feature photo by Ali V.

Please ignore this text box - Recoleta Font

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

  1. katelyn says:

    “Do not travel because you are looking for something, or someone.” Honestly thank you for this.

    Xx
    Katelyn

  2. Lauren says:

    “Seek grit in your life”

    I love this a lot. To me, I take it as to seek the things that are so ingrained, so bare bones, so deep in your soul that it is the dirt (i.e. grit) of your life. It is what the foundation of you is built off.

    So great, thank you!

  3. Cj says:

    “Exchange walls for boundaries so you can lovingly require what brings out the best in you, while letting the light in.” This is so, so beautiful and perfect. I just recently discovered your blog & I am in love. Keep the wisdom coming, lady!

  4. Harrison Ford says:

    Harrison Ford approves. Imagine me winking at you, in the most Harrison Ford way. 😉

    – you know who this is, right!?

  5. Veronica says:

    “Travel– or don’t– because it resonates with you, because you want to or need to…you are always the person who determines the right reasons” This was lovely to read. I feel so often in conversation that people try to one-up each other on where they’ve been that it becomes more about collecting travel points rather than finding something meaningful in the travel. As someone who doesn’t travel much, it’s nice to see someone who does travel share something I feel – that it should be about more than ticking off boxes or being able to “win” at who’s traveled the most. Thank you for writing this.

    • Ohhh the one-upping. It can feel like everyone is just trying to convince each other of their own experiences. Thank you Veronica! Happy this resonated with you. xo E

  6. Michael says:

    Travel if it’s right, you’ll know, first day. I couldn’t imagine a life any other way. Travel has made my life something grand and exciting. I have lived so many lives because of travel, I may owe dues ! E, you are the bomba, (<;

  7. Chelsea says:

    Thank you for your beautiful writing and inspiring mind. This is an incredible article, thank you for being real ! I am in the process of launching my blog/website, you have given me more inspiration and drive to be real, raw and true to my readers 🙂

  8. Susan Atkinson says:

    I absolutely love your perspective. To travel (or not) for the reasons instrinsically valuable to me –how fundamental and liberating. This post is the first of yours I have read but I am looking forward to diving into more! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

load MORE >

load MORE >

Well don't stop there

Read My Fave Posts

I'm Erin, Your New Tour Guide

If you’re interested in travel, love spending time outdoors, or want to learn more about photography, you’re in the right place. I’m an adventure trip leader turned travel photographer, passionate about learning & sharing the real stories from the places I visit.

MORE ABOUT ME 

PHOTOGRAPHER, ADVENTURER, nature nerd

Curious What Gear I use?

see inside

The TED Talk

WATCH NOW

 Top Resources

Does photographing a moment steal the experience from you? Is it good to document so much of our lives? These questions (and more) were on my mind .. so much so, that they are the subjects of my TED Talk.

My tools for creating: cameras, lenses, travel gear, and more.

Getting Started in Travel Photography

So many people say they want to be a travel photographer, but have no idea where to start. This guide gives you five actionable ways to start TODAY!

FREE DOWNLOAD

Follow along on Instagram (and everywhere else) at @erinoutdoors. See you there!

Home
Work with me
About
The Blog
Trips
Shop

© erin outdoors 2021 | Privacy Policy | Terms & conditions | SITE CREDIT

Portfolio
Contact

Stories from the road and the trail.

Get on the List

Wanna keep in touch? Subscribe to get notes from me in your inbox. We send updates, images, encouragement, discounts, and other treats we think you’ll dig.